Setting brand loyalty completely aside, which of the famous voices and faces of full-size trucks appeal to real truck owners? Granted, they were all hired to sell a product, and their effectiveness as a marketing tool is a worthy debate topic for financial analysts.
We’re just wondering: Who would be the most interesting, informative and entertaining celebrity at a table full of knowledgeable truck enthusiasts? Who do you think can carry on a lively and intelligent conversation about full-size pickups without all the flame throwing and marque bashing that often clogs the web these days?
We’ve narrowed down the field to six: Denis Leary, Mike Rowe, and Toby Keith for Ford, Howie Long and Tim Allen for Chevrolet; and Sam Elliott for Ram. This is simply a just-for-fun comparison.
There’s no number-crunching of empirical data, and our exercise has few subjective criteria. It just boils down to who’s closest to being the archetype truck owner that we’d love to have around the campfire and carry on an insightful conversation about trucks.
No. 6: Denis Leary
It’s funny, the spokesman least likely to know anything about trucks is probably the voice behind the most effective truck commercials we’ve seen lately. While Denis may know his way around a firetruck, we doubt he has a strong opinion on electronic versus manual-shift transfer cases. Yet, this smash-mouth comedian’s highly recognizable timbre and trademark hyper delivery fits perfectly with Ford’s rapid-fire storytelling images that basically carpet-bomb the viewer’s senses with the simple but hard-hitting feature-function-benefit message. These ads are so potent that they’ve spurred Parodies, and Denis’ contributions have been mocked as well. Despite the popularity of the ads and Denis’ biting commentaries on life, we’re guessing this chain-smoker wouldn’t last two cigarettes into a hardcore truck discussion about the regen cycles of particulate filters.
No. 5: Sam Elliott
Since Sam doesn’t physically appear in the Ram TV ads (we only hear his voice), we base much of our perception on images culled from his movie career. That means he’s likely to spend more time on a motorcycle or horses than behind the wheel of a pickup. But that doesn’t diminish the impact that his deep, resonating voice can have with truck shoppers. Sam has a set of pipes that would make John Facenda bow down and pray to Detroit. Heck, Give him the right script, and he’ll sound like an authentic, rugged truck owner. The beauty of this ad strategy is that Ram can create memorable, artistic images to complement Sam’s rich voice.
Sadly, however, we don’t get to know Sam very well, and we can’t determine if he could tell a Posi from a Locker. A conversation with him would probably drift away from trucks to his leading ladies. But dang, those Ram commercials are a work of art with his voice leading the way.